New £15 Uber sign-up code available as UberTAXI launches!

Use code HEADFORPOINTS for a £15 Uber sign-up credit.  The code is valid until December 2016.

There was a major protest in Central London yesterday by black cab drivers.  They believe that Transport for London should not have licensed taxi app Uber because only black cab drivers are allowed to charge passengers using an in-car meter which balances both time and distance.  Uber argues that the fares are not calculated by an in-car meter and so they are within the rules.

Uber has not taken this quietly, although I admit I was pretty surprised by their response!

Yesterday Uber announced the launch of UberTAXI.  This allows you to call a black cab via the Uber app!

Is this a joke or not?  It is difficult to tell.  An ‘UberTAXI’ option has appeared in the Uber app albeit no cars are currently available.


One thing that makes me think it is not a joke is that I found a trade article which said Uber is only charging 5% commission versus the 10% taken by Hailo.  However, as most black cab drivers consider Uber to be their sworn enemy, I’m not sure than an additional 5% will make much difference.  It is difficult to imagine many black cab drivers signing up for this.

(To put this in context, when Hailo applied for a minicab licence recently to allow it to offer executive cars alongside black cabs, a large number of Hailo drivers quit in disgust.  These drivers have presumably been picked up by Get Taxi.)

The irony is that the main loser from all of this is probably Addison Lee.  The fact that AddLee is rarely mentioned these days is a symbol of how it has fallen.

The founding family cannily sold out for a reported £300m to private equity house Carlyle in 2013 and the company is presumably now carrying a substantial amount of bank debt.  We stopped using AddLee before that – after regularly spending £300 or so a year with them – because they decided to stop carrying child booster seats.

A new £15 sign-up code

As part of its PR offensive yesterday designed to rub sand in the eyes of the protesting black cab drivers, Uber launched a £15 credit via HFP for new members.

If you download the Uber app on your iPhone or Android device and use the promotional code HEADFORPOINTS your account will be credited with £15.  This is enough for a decent ride in one of their UberLUX vehicles or a couple of trips in an UberExec or UberX car.

If you already have an Uber account, you could open another for your partner.  Remember that you will need access to a unique mobile phone number as they send a confirmation code as an SMS.  Mobile phone numbers which have already been used by Uber are not accepted.

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  1. mike sanders says:

    how do i access this service with an overseas mobile and can I get the service from LHR on arrival.
    Is AddLee still in business?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      The Uber app works in any city worldwide after you’ve done the initial set-up.

      • It does, it is a bit spooky opening the app in Dubai and seeing all the cars there ready to go. (Taxis can be very hard to get in Dubai at shift changeover time around 4pm, so Uber is good then.)

        One caveat – you CANNOT use your £20 credit overseas. Any ride you make will be charged in cash to the credit card Uber holds.

      • mike sanders says:

        Many thanks all of you I have signed up got the twenty quid and waiting for the T shirt, I’ll see how it all works when I get to London.

        • If you walked around London with an Uber t-shirt on you would find an off-duty black cab driver taking a swipe at you ….!

          • Usually plenty of Uber cars across the three levels at Heathrow.

            You would probably need to head to departures, to the drop off area, where you’re Uber car can collect you.

    • AddLee is still there, yes!

    • pazza2000 says:

      Yes you can get UBER on arrival at LHR. At any one time there seem to be a few available in or around the airport.

  2. Tim Millea says:

    Some of the subtlety of the black cabbies’ argument is lost on me. The last time I used one was 30 years ago, and even then, for a relatively short cross London journey it cost more than a flight to Greece. Are they simply objecting to any competition? Why are they not embracing something that is likely to bring them more customers?

    Taxi drivers the World over have a certain reputation. If ever my journey would involve a taxi ride, I won’t do it. The trip is off.

    • ? !

    • You should try India, you can hire yourself a guy and his cab for the whole day for £10 and they’ll go wherever you want!

      • mrtibbs1999 says:

        I hired a chap in Cairo once for a tenner. I felt bad and gave him £15 for the day. He was over the moon. Apparently it was about 10 days wages to him. The car was a battered Lada and we went to all the sub pyramids. Wonderful days when you could go anywhere in Egypt without being raped or murdered!

    • +1, I’d rather drive through London myself than use scumbag Taxis.

  3. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    One thing worth noting is that UberTAXI now creates a five-seater service through the app. Great if there’s a group of you.

    • Furthermore, as taxis have greater passenger cabin space than the Uber cars, you can use UberTaxi to carry awkward items of luggage with you, you couldn’t have otherwise (i.e. a cello, perhaps?!).

      Taxis are also wheelchair friendly, so there’s another service.

  4. Erico1875 says:

    That strike was probably the best publicity Uber could have wished for.

  5. sandgrounder says:

    They really should let Private Hire in London use Taximeters. They can in other parts of the country. The Hackney trade need to stop making excuses and evolve or die.

  6. Brian Peers says:

    Anybody having problems signing up with an AMEX?

    I’m getting a dreaded message about CVV codes must be 4 characters for Amex and 3 for Visa despite having 4 numbers there…

    • mike sanders says:

      visa has total seven numbers it is the last three that matter, Amex is four on the front of the card, but then you knew all this.

  7. And this morning Uber is in second place in the App Store, behind the Facebook Messenger they’ve forced on all users. There only seems to be one winner from yesterday!

  8. How long is the credit valid for?

    • Guessing a year. When I started using them seriously – which was about 6 months after signing up – my bonus was still there. If you’ve got a phone that can take the app then sign-up, wherever you live. I expect Uber to be in most major UK cities within a year anyway.

      I actually had my first f***-wit Uber driver yesterday out of about 30 trips. Tried to do a U-turn in our (one-way) street and set off driving before my 3-year old had got his seatbelt on. They are generally OK though. The UberLUX guys also know where they are going. Below that level, don’t get into the car without the postcode of your destination!

      I also had a f***-wit black cab driver on Sunday at Paddington, who was so useless that I seriously think he had borrowed the cab from someone else. He actually asked me how to get to Kings Road from the new Paddington taxi rank.

      • after you advised a few days ago I used get taxi 4/5 times,the lack of minimum is the key there.
        Though, i had a terrible experience with a driver when he took the longest way to destination and got stuck into heavy traffic (i could not get off i was in the middleofnowhere) and he not only did non even apologize but also tried to argue…
        a part from that, my last driver was in the top ten! :-)

      • All Uber drivers need to pass their own knowledge test before they’re allowed onto their system. Obviously the Lux one is harder than the one for the X.

        You should have reported the taxi at Paddington. Is it likely that it was the owner’s mate/brother/mechanic etc., was driving the cab, earning on the sly.

    • pazza2000 says:

      I don’t think it expires. The promos do, but not the sign up credit.

      • It’s showing a 1-year validity when I check on my account (it doesn’t seem to show it in the app, but it does under ‘Payments’ on the website.

        • pazza2000 says:

          Fair enough. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an expiration with previous credits though. I’ve had my £20 sign up for almost 2 years.

  9. Czechoslovakia says:

    I get the message, that my phone is not capable of running the app. Drat. Off to London for a few days next week too.

    • Just load the app on your ipad / tablet for the moment then to get the account set up – that’s what I’ve done. The confirmation sms came to my phone and no problem setting it up

      On the app store it’s iphone only but that doesn’t stop the install on ipad

  10. There’s at least one UberTaxi as I’ve tried moving the start point around London and finally found one. I can’t see it being too popular though, ones that choose to use it will probably be bullied by their non Uber using colleagues. Look how many drivers have removed their Hailo signage.

  11. I added the promo code but can’t find anywhere in the the app to show if it’s ben applied?

  12. For a regular route that Wheely charge their minimum £9 fare – Uber are quoting £14 – £17

    Will use up my £20 sign-up bonus (thanks for the code) – but looks like I will continue to use Wheely.

  13. The sooner those Addison Lee cars are off the road the better. Their drivers are the most incompetent I’ve ever come across, and are probably the most dangerous too!
    Won’t be long before one of them kills their passengers, and whoever is unlucky enough to be the in the other car involved.

    • Chris S says:

      Thanks for this. It was well timed for a trip from IC Westminster to Heathrow terminal 5 today. Happy with a bill of 17 pounds.

  14. I won’t be using UBER again.

    I prefer a cab that knows where he is going, and can use a bus lane. Happy to pay 20% extra for that.

  15. for registering on uber, if I give overseas number and use the promo code METRO, will it give me £ 20 credit available for use in london or it will give me local credit to be used in my country??

  16. Yes, it works on any of the 3 services (if not going too far, take a LUX for the novelty) and the £20 is automatically used first with your card charged for the balance.

    • Thanks. So, will i be able to use it in greater london for e.g stanmore tube station to mercure watford hotel?

  17. is this your personal code or a published one?